In July 2013 comedian Mark Sampson left Cape Town to go ‘Africa Clockwise’: drive clockwise around the continent with his family in a 10 ton truck that runs on waste vegetable oil that they collect themselves en route. Despite getting stuck behind closed borders and losing a year to the Ebola pandemic, by July 2016 they had crossed the Sahara and reached Tangier, becoming the first people to cross the continent without using fossil fuels. The Sampsons are attempting to break the Guinness World for the longest journey made on alternative fuel in their Big Green Truck.
So far the Sampson family – Mark, his wife Sam Pearce and their two children now aged 15 and 12 – has travelled 23000 km, crossed 20 countries and broken down 15 times. They’ve survived a flying solar panel in Namibia, a wheel coming loose in Angola, an AK47-wielding bandit in the DRC, getting stuck on the ferry across the Congo, being bitten by scores of jungle bugs in Gabon, driving through thigh-high mud in Cameroon, a tourist-infested Voodoun festival in Benin, a scorpion bite in Togo, a thumping madman in Ghana and malaria and typhoid in Cote d’Ivoire. But mostly they’ve enjoyed warm African hospitality wherever they’ve been, fabulous surf and palm-fringed perfection at beaches all along the West Coast.
Former Covent Garden busker Sampson has entertained at high schools and South African Embassies en route, sharing his sustainability message while performing impromptu magic shows with his kids in villages where they’ve stayed and at hundreds of police roadblocks. They have never paid a bribe.
2016 Voted best presentation by top academics at the 18th SAASTEC Conference (SA Association of Science and Technology Centres)
2014 Hosted the first Knowledge Exchange Forum for EEP – the Energy and Environment Partnership, Southern and East Africa.
2013 Launched the City of Cape Town's Climate Smart Campaign.
2012 Hosted Sustain Our Africa, the world's largest sustainability conference.
2011 Launched Africa Clockwise show at the National Arts Festival and Sandton Theatre on the Square. Performed at COP17 for the European Union.
2009 Feels Funny toured from Grahamstown to Monte Casino, Joburg and received standing ovations at every performance at the Theatre On The Bay.
2008 His second solo show Mark Sampson Feels Funny became top selling comedy show at National Arts Festival before touring Eastern Cape. Hosted and produced late night comedy cabaret Live and Kicking.
2007 Missing Links played at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town and sold out for the third year at the Grahamstown Festival.
2006 Missing Links toured varsities nationwide during African Origins month for SAASTA, as well as to the Liberty Theatre on the Square Jo’burg; Artscape, Cape Town; KKNK Oudtshoorn; PE, East London and the Catalina Theatre, Durban.
2005 First solo theatre show Missing Links launched at the opening of Sterkfontein, sold out at the National Arts Festival and toured to schools nationwide for SAASTA (SA Agency for Science and Technology Advancement).
2004 Performed at the Maulhelden (Verbal Heroes) Festival in Berlin and featured on the comedy celebrity edition of SABC3's The Weakest Link, following appearances on Funny You Should Say That and Comedy Showcase.
2003 MC’d the Cape Comedy Collective’s Proudly South African tour to the International Edinburgh Fringe Festival, receiving 4 star reviews. Growing: Auld with Sampson, a musical comedy show with local guitar legend Robin Auld played to sell-out houses nationwide.
1999-2002 Founded the Cape Comedy Collective and hosted the weekly Cape Comedy Club at the Armchair Theatre and the CCC’s 6 nights a week circuit.
1998 Hosted the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival at the Baxter Theatre.
1996-2000 MC’d the Oppi Koppi, Up The Creek and Obz music festivals.
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